Editor: Those who have lived in Madeira Beach for any length of time may recall, albeit reluctantly, the dire straits we found ourselves in a few short years ago. Commission meetings often erupted into open warfare. Little was accomplished, and when something did manage to squeak through the cracks, it was always bitterly contested. One of the big questions asked by residents was who would be next in line to sue us. We were the laughing stock of Pinellas County and our every move subjected us to more ridicule.
Today, as a result of the stewardship of Mayor Schontz, followed seamlessly by Mayor Palladino, we have become one of the most respected communities on the west coast of Florida. Our board meetings are dignified and productive and the city is moving forward with several major projects.
Under construction are a Marriott hotel, a beach restaurant, significant private development, a new Publix, a new city hall and fire station and a revamped recreation center. In addition a new Walgreens is open and construction is set for a new CVS. Parks are being rebuilt and the Johns Pass and Boardwalk areas have been revitalized and are realizing unparalleled success.
On top of this the Leverock’s property is currently under consideration for redevelopment, the City Marina and public works complex changes are in full swing, many of our roads are scheduled for resurfacing and storm sewer and other infrastructure improvements are in the planning stages. Finally the long awaited undergrounding of utilities on Gulf Boulevard have actually begun. While the administration cannot take full credit for all of this, they can certainly take credit for having created a climate that encouraged the investment and development that made this possible.
Considering where we are today, as opposed to where we were a few short years ago, I can only say my decision, as a voter has been made easy. From my vantage point in the cheap seats it seems to me Mayor Pallidino and Commissioner Hodges and Lister who are seeking re-election, deserve much of the credit. In saying this I have no intention of demeaning the contributions of the rest of the board or of the city administration. What has been accomplished, as well as what is under development or in the planning stages is a tribute to the concerted effort of all who have contributed. This is what good teams do and since we now enjoy a good team I see no reason for breaking it up.
I realize those opposing the administration in this election may have much to offer. However, the thing that tips the balance for me is that in one case we are dealing with a known commodity with a certified track record while in the other we are being asked to roll the dice. Personally, given a choice I prefer not to gamble.